Will Smith Reveals He 'Fell in Love' With Co-Star Stockard Channing During His First Marriage

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Method acting proved dangerous for Will Smith's marriage while filming the 1993 movie Six Degrees of Separation. In a new excerpt from his upcoming memoir, Will, 53-year-old Smith opens up about falling in love with his co-star, Stockard Channing, while working on the project and still married to his first wife, Sheree Zampino.

"Sheree and I were in the first few months of our marriage with a brand-new baby and for Sheree, I can imagine that this experience was unsettling to say the least," Smith writes in an exclusive excerpt viaPeople magazine. "She'd married a guy named Will Smith and now she was living with a guy named Paul Poitier [his character's name in the movie]. And to make matters worse, during shooting I fell in love with Stockard Channing."

Smith added that his marriage to Zampino was off to a "rocky start" and after filming on the movie wrapped, "I found myself desperately yearning to see and speak to Stockard."

This is not the first time Smith has been candid about the effect Method acting had on him. In a 2015 interview with Esquire, the two-time Oscar nominee spoke about the impact of the practice. 

"With Six Degrees of Separation, I got a taste early of the dangers of going too far for a character," he told the magazine at the time. "My character was in love with Stockard Channing's character. And I actually fell in love with Stockard Channing."

He added that the experience caused him to quit Method acting.

"That was my last experience with Method acting, where you're reprogramming your mind," he shared. "You're actually playing around with your psychology. You teach yourself to like things and to dislike things."

At the time, Channing told Page Six, "Well, I'm very flattered. That's a wonderful thing... I adored him from the first time I laid eyes on him because I thought he was genuinely sweet. I felt very protective of him, because it was his first big job. It's amazing for me to hear that he felt that way, I'm delighted."

Smith and Zampino divorced in 1995. ET spoke with Zampino last year about Smith calling their marriage a "failure."

"I don't want to be in the same sentence with 'failure.' When you look at what we've been able to do, the marriage didn't work, but we are a success," she explained at the time. "The love that we have for each other, the co-parenting journey -- and not doing it perfectly, but being effective, and being an example for other people. So, we're -- I'm -- a part of his greatest success."

Smith has gone on to have a 23-year marriage with actress Jada Pinkett Smith. Back in September, Smith opened up to GQabout the couple's untraditional arrangement when it comes to extramarital relationships. 

“We have given each other trust and freedom, with the belief that everybody has to find their own way," Smith said at the time. "And marriage for us can’t be a prison. And I don’t suggest our road for anybody. I don’t suggest this road for anybody. But the experiences that the freedoms that we’ve given one another and the unconditional support, to me, is the highest definition of love.”


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